Beyond the Veil

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Chapter 7: Light

Amanda felt the light before she saw it, her eyes shut tight against the intruding beams of the sun and she forced her eyelids open. She winced as the rays penetrated through her eyes and she turned her face away and looked down at where she was lying. Covered by some strange tall plant, furling blossoms of a dark reddish purple and winding, trailing leaves, she pushed it to the side and her astonishment furthered.

What seemed to be thousands of unusual trees were before her, peculiar plants and what she assumed were animals floating, flying above her and she covered her eyes against the shimmering light to try and make out what they might be.

The birds, or what she assumed were birds, were nothing like she had ever seen before. They had long, graceful bodies, sleek mirror like torsos, with dozens of pairs of wings that moved as if signalled by an invisible conductor; keeping their majestic forms airborne and she marvelled at the wonders before her. The scenery was incredible to describe, dark trees with their bark polished to an immense shine, possessing a mirror like quality into which Amanda stared into, seeing her silver hair with leaves of slivered gold through it and a slight smudge of dirt over her tiny nose, which somehow made the glint in her eyes stand out.

She realised that she was still sitting down amongst the plants and she scrambled to her feet and winced slightly as she put pressure on her foot. The drop must have made her sprain her ankle, luckily it didn’t look too swollen on closer examination and she cautiously put her foot down on the ground, exerting her weight upon it and taking a careful step forward. It throbbed, the pain trickling through her leg, but she could handle it.

She panicked as she finally realised that Dani and Caden weren’t with her and she whirled around frantically, scanning through the forest, looking for any sign of the Phoenix’s wings or Dani’s long dark hair through the undergrowth.

Nothing.

She was about to grow more frantic when she remembered Caden’s words from when they were inside the transporter. He said that they’d all be in different spots when they finally arrived on…whatever this planet was. She didn’t know the name yet. Hopefully she’d find out soon.

She looked back to where the sun was still blinding her through the trees and tried to think.

Where to go, what to do?

The forest seemed endless.

There had to be something here, maybe a city, a town, a little village even would do. Just as long as she had somewhere to at least lay her head for the night. And then to find out where Dani and Caden was. Of course, she knew there was magic in this place, but she was hopeless on how to use it.

She hoped there was a way to learn.

She regarded the towering trees over her, marvelling at their astounding design and then a thought popped into her head. Perhaps she could climb a tree and see if there was anything in the distance? Then at least she’d have an idea where she was, lay out a map of sorts in her mind. She had to keep track of things somehow. She had a strange dilemma, Amanda did. She liked adventure and mystery, but she craved control, order. It was sometimes difficult to balance both desires.

Amanda shook the thought away before it could go any further into her past and hidden wants and began to search for a tree. There were so many, all of them so tall, with the nearest branches being a good 10 metres off the ground. She trekked through the forest, unusual, yet comforting sounds drifted through the air, delicately winding their melodies through the twisted branches of the woods.

Finally, after climbing and weaving her way through low hanging vines and soft, caressing branches that draped to the ground, she found a branch that she could reach if she jumped. Bending down low, she prepared to launch herself into the air. With a sudden burst of sporadic energy, she hurtled up towards the tree branch, relieved as she reached out her fingers to grasp the branch above her.

But her relief was short lived.

A sharp pain ripped through her leg and she crashed into the ground, the branch slamming into her as she plummeted down on to it and she was momentarily winded as she frantically whipped her head up to stare at something so vile that she could barely bring herself to look into it’s wild, feral eyes.

Gears churned wildly in her head as she processed the scene before her, programming kicked in telling her to calm down and to not panic, but her heart was not under the control of her mere human mind and it began to pound, rocketing throughout her, the thunder of the beats echoing in the forest as she continued to stare, locked in its gaze.

It moved closer to her, its jaws barred towards her, its elongated black scaled body intimidatingly stalked towards her, its feet taking heavy, slow steps towards her. Its long black ears twitched forward and she noticed through the panicked haze that they were almost like human ears, yet slightly pointed. She puzzled blankly over this through the fog of fear that still engulfed her.

It leaned in towards her and for some reason, she didn’t back away.

For some reason, the fear began to slowly release its grip on her and skulk away into the abyss.

Somehow the creature didn’t look so frightening or menacing any longer.

The creature realised that they fear had left her and shock spilled onto its features, and it leaned closer to her, it leaned in towards her neck and seemed to inhale deeply as if he could sense something about her that she herself could not.

The creature however, had its own scent; but it was far from putrid or vile. When she inhaled, she almost passed out from being so heady and full of the scent, rich and deep like some exotic bark infused with strange otherworldly spices.

It locked her in a haze, a frantic haze for want of something, yet she didn’t know what. The creature’s breath became cooler and she heard it emit a deep sigh and that was when she realised that it was no longer in the form that it was before.

A man – no, not a man – well, it looked human. But something wasn’t quite right.

His ears.

They were slanted deeply.

His eyes.

Not human eyes.

The last thing she remembered was falling limp, into his arms as he lifted her up then blackness consumed her vision.

When Dani awoke, she was surrounded by clouds. She drew her hands through the mist of the cloud that she was lying on, and while it wasn’t soft enough to fall through, it was the most comfortable she had ever been. It felt like she was floating through warm water.

Shimmering dark blue light was above her, and she looked around in alarm as she couldn’t see Caden. She relaxed instantaneously when she saw him resting in the cloud next to her, his wings splayed out behind him. A lock of hair fell across his eyes, and there was a look of utter peace on his face as he slept. A small smile twitched on his face, which caused Dani to wonder.

“I wonder what he’s dreaming about? Flying? Memories past, perhaps?”

She looked up into the shimmering blue light and watched in awe and it rippled and caused waves in the sky, reflecting different shades of the same colour all over the clouds, causing the clouds to turn many beautiful shades of blue.

“Someone else couldn’t sleep as well, mmm?” She heard Caden’s voice, with a slight hint of mischief to his tone.

She turned quickly to look at him, a little startled. Dani felt a blush of pink spread across her face.

“Wait, what do you mean someone else couldn’t sleep as well? You looked like you were wrapped up in a nice dream.” Dani replied to him.

“Who said I was sleeping?” He replied.

“Then why did you smile then?”

“I knew you were watching me sleep, Dani.” He moved closer to Dani until his face was close to Dani.

“I like watching you sleep. It’s interesting to watch.”

But I wasn’t sleeping.”

“Then why did you close your eyes?”

“Sometimes things happen to me Dani that I can’t help. I told you emotions were stronger here. He looked her straight into the eyes and she watched as they turned from a light blue colour to an intense, dark black.

“My eyes change when I feel strong emotion. It’s been happening a lot lately. And you’re to blame for it.” Caden said softly, brushing his hand through her hair.

“Sorry.” Dani said, breathlessly, captivated by his gaze.

“Don’t be.” Caden said.

Dani realised the colour of the light was changing above them, from blue to a dark pink entwined with grey ripples.

She looked up in wonder, and the pink colour deepened.

“Caden, the light…it’s changing.”

“Would you like to know why?” He said, coming up behind her.

“Ready to satisfy my insatiable curiosity again?”

“Absolutely.” He said.

“The light changes colour according to the feelings of the people in the clouds.”

“So, how are you feeling Dani?” He said softly into her ear, brushing his wing along the sides of her arm.

She turned around to face him, and looked up at his wings. Almost by instinct, his wings furled around her and he placed his arms around her waist.

“So, are you going to answer my question?”

“You’re making it very hard to think, Caden. You’re hardly being fair.”

“Sorry.” He snickered.

“Anyway, I’ll attempt to answer in spite of your…distractions.” She said sweeping her hand over his wing.

“What I feel is hard to describe in words…its like I was written in a secret language and only you have the power to translate it. How you do it is beyond me.” She said, looking up into his eyes, that had lightened a bit, still grey but with the light blue tinge in them that she was so used to.

“It isn’t just me who has a hold over you Dani. I’ve never told anyone my name. Ever. Because of what it can do. Not even the Cloud King and Queen know my name and I’ve known them for centuries.

Dani lifted a brow inquisitively at Caden.

“How long have you existed?” Dani asked.

“Clever. Not asking how old I am, because I don’t reflect my true years.”

“I am 3, 400, Dani. In terms of how long I have existed. I stopped aging physically at the age of 23. My phoenix blood gives me that advantage.”

“Phoenix? Don’t they explode into flames when they die?” She asked, her eyes widening in horror.

Caden laughed.

“Don’t worry Dani, I’m not a fire Phoenix.”

“There are different kinds of Phoenix?” Dani asked surprised.

Caden’s eyes widened expressively.

“There are many kinds of our species Dani.”

“And what kind are you?”

“I’d really like to know that myself, Dani.”

“Your parents didn’t tell yo - ,”

Dani stopped as she saw sadness cross his eyes for a moment and her own expression softened. She felt tears spark in her own eyes as she felt his fleeting pain that she witnessed.

“Your parents are gone, aren’t they?” she said quietly, looking up again into his stunningly deep blue eyes, the grey now gone from them.

“See, you’re too observant for your own good.” He sighed, his wings wrapping further around her, causing her to have to move closer to him.

“But you would have told me even if I hadn’t guessed.” Dani replied,

“You’re right, I would’ve. I’m shocked I’m saying that. I’ve never told anyone of my true heritage.” Caden admitted. He was ashamed to tell Dani of the story that was a part of him.

The thought floated out his mind and Dani captured it. She shook her head in astonishment and then put her hand to his face. He relaxed slightly under touch and Dani sighed in relief.

“Caden, you don’t need to be ashamed when you’re with me. How could you? If anything, I’m ashamed of myself. Of the way I am. A peculiarity. An oddity.” Her hand dropped to her side, but Caden took it back again.

“The people of Earth are blind to the truth, Dani. They don’t understand you because Earth is not where you are meant to be. You are not made for Earth. Maybe some are destined to that life, but certainly not you.” Caden said to her, urging her of the truth.

“I wish we had longer together.” Dani said suddenly, on an impulse.

Caden placed his hand under her chin and tilted it upwards to look at him.

“Dani, you have forever with me. I promise.” He said sincerely.

Dani turned her face away from him and Caden felt a slight quiver run down her spine.

She looked back at him and Caden could see sorrow in her eyes.

“Caden, I’m not going to be around forever. I’m mortal…which means my life will come to an end. Eventually.”

Caden listened to her quietly, and then spoke.

“Dani, I won’t let that happen.”

“And I’ll age too. You’re not going to want to be with someone who looks like a 100 years old.” She said, not seeming to have heard Caden’s previous comment.

“Dani, did you not listen to me? I said it will not happen,” he replied fervently, drawing her closer to him.

Dani looked up at him with tears in her eyes.

“How can you promise that, Caden? Even if it was possible…it would come with an insurmountable price.”

“And it would be a price that I am willing to pay.” He replied.

“It might be too much.” Dani whispered.

“Nothing will ever be too much if I get to be with you always.” Caden said with fervency and pulled her into his chest.

Dani felt emotion ripping through her like a tidal wave; she was drowning on endless torrents of it.

The sky had lightened and Dani pulled away slowly from Caden and looked into the distance.

She gasped in awe. She had not yet witnessed a sunrise here on this planet and it was one of the most astonishing masterpieces she had ever seen.

The colour in the sky was anything but stagnant. It started slow and instead of colour slowly painting the sky, thousands of colours raged and consumed the sky in a crazed frenzy of beauty.

Caden stood next to her and they both watched in awe, and Caden seemed especially solemn.

“It beautiful, isn’t it? Are the colours the same every time?”

Caden smiled gently and continued to gaze at the astonishing spectacle before them.

“I wouldn’t know, I’ve only ever seen it once before.”

Dani drew her gaze away from the dizzying array of colours and stared at Caden in puzzlement.

“What do you mean, you’ve never seen it before?”

“I have always hidden from this, the sunrise.”

“Why? Are you scared of the colours?

“No, it’s what they represent that reminded me of what I would never attain.”

Caden took her hand and his wings moved around her again.

“You see Dani, this isn’t just an array of colours that move wonderfully together. Every time the something victorious happens, a thing of beauty, awe and wonder, The Guardians of the Sky are awakened. They are drawn to the scene, but instead of seeing the scene with normal eyes, they see the colours that are caused by the event. And the way they move. Whether they wind, twist ripple or furl around each other, if they move fast or slow or somewhere in between.”

Dani’s eyes widened in amazement.

“Caden, that’s incredible. But why have you hidden from it all this time?” she said.

“I failed terribly in a task long ago, Dani. And because of this, I was rejected by everyone I knew. No one could bear to look upon my countenance.” He said, agony in his voice, laced with centuries of sorrow.

“Caden, what – “

Caden interrupted.

“I’d tell you, but there isn’t time right now. It would take weeks to explain the ways I failed and why my actions were so utterly weak.” Caden replied, turning back towards the clouds.

Dani looked at him silently for a few moments.

“I don’t believe you failed Caden. I can tell.” She said firmly but quietly, moving in front of him.

Caden stared silently into her eyes, evaluating the movement of the colour in her irises.

“I wish you were right, but this time, you ’re wrong, Dani. But I’ll explain when we have more time.”

Dani didn’t urge him further and instead took his hand.

Caden smiled down at her, pleased.

“You still want to be with me, after all that?” he asked playfully, but a touch of seriousness was laid in his tone.

She squeezed his hand.

She showed him the love she had for him, opening up her caged mind and emptying out all its secrets to him.

“I guess that’s an affirmative.” He replied.

Dani then suddenly realised that the clouds were beginning to get more firm, solid and to take stone like form.

“Caden, the clouds are changing form! I thought these were for sleeping?”

Caden chuckled and then replied,

“Don’t worry, Dani, its fine. It happens every time people sleep here. They are just preparing for the next guests. They need more…support that we do.”

“Guests? What guests? And who is sleeping in the daytime?”

“Looks like we have a bit of introducing to do, then don’t we?” He teased.

“The Cloud Chambers are a bit like a glorified hotel room. But they only accommodate for certain creatures. They have never had a human here before, which was probably why the sky was so wild this morning. The Guardians of the Sky saw it fit to herald your arrival.”

“Dragons sleep during the day, Dani. They need somewhere to stay when they are on the move, away from their caves. And so the Cloud King and Queen open the Cloud Chambers to them.”

Dani looked into the horizon with amazement, and then she turned back to Caden with a joyous expression on her face.

“Will they be here soon?” Dani asked, excitement evident in her tone.

“Any minute now. You’ll be able to see them from far off. Their scales glint in the morning light.” He said, the same happiness reflected in his tone.

“What kinds of dragons come here? I mean, are there kinds of dragons, or are they all the same?” she asked.

“There’s countless. Dragon of Light, Flame Dragons, Swarm Dragons, Crystal Dragons, Golden Dragons, Starlight Dragons, Dream Dragons.”

“So many…is that all?”

“Some I can’t remember the names of, but the number of them is changing of them all the time, since there are always hybrids.”

“Dragons don’t keep to their own kind?” Dani said surprised.

“Dragons are most similar to humans in terms of emotion. So, love can span over different kinds even in spite of their extreme differences.

“I heard once of a Flame Dragon who fell in love with an Ice Dragon. Two opposite ends of the spectrum, but in spite of the differences, they had been meant for each other.”

He looked up at his wings and then down at Dani. She realised that the same was true for them.

“And so here you are, a phoenix with a mere human girl like me.”

“Oh, but you are much more than just a mere human girl Dani. Surely you have realised that by now.”

“And you’re no ordinary phoenix, Caden.” She replied softly.

All of a sudden, Dani saw a bright glint of light and she looked eagerly towards the horizon.

She could just make out blurred shapes in the distance, some were by themselves, and others clustered together in the lit morning sky.

They moved swiftly towards the clouds and they crossed the sky with incredible speed and mobility.

They were clearer in Dani’s eyes now and she could pick out individual features of each one.

A dragon that was close to Dani had scales that seemed to radiate light out of them, radiant silver blue light that was stunning to behold. It had two sets of horns that curved gracefully out of the back of its head.

She also noticed that on the undersides of the scales, she could see flashing images of scenes in the scales that were moving at a rate that she could not follow.

It swooped down over Dani, and came down to rest over one of the clouds.

Another dragon followed, this one a glowing orange colour, the colour of flames. Flames rippled out from underneath its wings.

It plunged through the air, it’s flames leaving trails in the sky, mixing in with the colours of the sunrise.

And then there were more, so many more that Dani couldn’t begin to number them.

And then the last one appeared.

A black dragon. Black as the hybrid of the midnight sky and of the onyx stone.

Thundering through the clouds he came moving swift like an arrow.

His scales were of the blackest black, but his beautiful horns, which resembled those of a majestic deer, were white; a stark contrast to the rest of his body.

He moved closer to Caden and Dani, and Dani felt Caden tighten his wings around her as the wings of the dragon whirled up a gust next to them.

Dani stared as the dragon landed right in front of them, observing them silently.

“It seems we have a visitor. Human, if I’m not correct?” he said, his voice rumbling, rough like granite to her ears.

Dani had a sudden surge of boldness and moved out from behind Caden’s wings.

“You can address me directly. I can speak.”

“As I can see. Do not mistake my indirectness to address you as disrespect. I am dubious as to if I have that right.”

Dani’s face softened a little and she saw kindness in the dragon’s piercing eyes, which glowed with an intense hue of purple.

“You need not ask that question. Or have the doubt. I am much less mightier than you, as you can see.”

“Do not doubt yourself. The Cloud Tribe was right to be in awe of you.”

“Why would you have doubt to speak directly to me?” Dani queried.

The dragon laughed and shook his head, horns letting off light as he did.

“That is not my place to tell you, for I do not know. I can only sense that you not of the ordinary kind.

Caden nodded at the dragon.

“You’re right about that.” He said, his feathers waving in the wind of the dragon’s wings

The dragon let out another laugh.

“See? The phoenix even agrees with me, a rare occurrence.” The dragon replied, bending his head so he could get a closer look at Dani.

“It is easy to see the difference in your eyes. A trained eye can see the magic there.”

He pulled his head back and furled his wings.

He opened his mouth and an unusual sound came out, one that did not match his looks. It sounded like shattering crystals and a force field colliding.

Dani could only assume it was his way of yawning.

“As much as this conversation has been interesting, I must retire. I have thoroughly drained my energy in the journey here. I must rest. Good luck, Dani; Caden.

With that last final sentence, he curled his wings around himself and shielding his horns, he fell into a turbulent slumber.

“And now, I think it is finally time for us to make our way back to the Cloud Castle. The King and Queen will be expecting us.” Caden said, giving the dragon one last glance before promptly putting Dani onto his shoulders and taking off into the air.

“Caden! I can fly you know. I’m far too heavy for you. Put me down Caden, you’ll exert yourself!” she exclaimed, but she couldn’t secretly deny the feeling that it was rather nice to fly through the air on his back.

“Oh, you don’t really want to get down, I can tell.” He teased, swooping low and dragging them through clouds.

Dani blushed furiously and tried to let out an exasperated sigh, but it came out sounding more contented than frustrated.

“That is beside the point Caden, you will hurt yourself with me on there. Now let me dismount Caden!”

“Do you doubt my strength Dani? I must say I am a little insulted. I may have to teach you a lesson,” he said chuckling darkly.

His hand snaked up to her and tickled her waist.

“Caden!” she shrieked.

“Not funny!” she yelled, somewhat out of frustration that it had made her love him more than really irritate her in the least.

“Oh, come on, don’t deny it, you love it! You love it when I tease you.”

“Do not.” She pouted, then had a better idea and decided to some of her own teasing.

“Two can play that game,” she thought smugly.

“Don’t even think about it.” She heard Caden warning her sternly, but there was still playfulness in his tone.

“Don’t think about what?” Dani said, delightfully taunting him.

She moved her hands up to Caden’s wings and trailed her fingers over his feathers. She then ran her hands through his golden hair and gave it the smallest of tugs.

She leaned forward as though to try and get more comfortable, and then wrapped her arms, resting dangerously low around his waist.

She felt a turbulent ripple through his wings and heard a peculiar sound emerge from between his lips.

It sounded like the tiniest of growls.

Just then they saw the Cloud Kingdom and Caden moved forward with the speed of an eagle and he descended, then to Dani’s surprise zoomed around to the very back of the Castle, where it was abandoned.

He was on his feet as soon as they hit the ground, Caden’s arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her off his back.

Before Dani could speak, Caden had her back leaning up against the wall, fixing her with a gaze that made Dani’s own eyes turn dark.

Caden’s face held no hint of playfulness now and instead was replaced by something far more intense.

Possessive.

“I’ve let you have your fun, Dani.” He whispered darkly into her ear, and Dani couldn’t help but let out an involuntary shudder.

“And now it’s time to have a little of my own,” he breathed into her neck, causing Dani’s heart to generate electric sparks.

Dani thought that her first kiss that she had was electrifying, but nothing could have prepared her for this.

Fire surged through her being as she felt Caden make contact with her neck. It was the softest and most innocent of touches, but it stirred up something inside that was so extreme that it could not be quenched.

All of a sudden, there was heat on her neck that was incinerating her, turning her to ash.

Caden was behind her now and her head was tipped back on his shoulder, and she had somehow managed to twist her hands into the feathers on his wings.

His mouth reduced her to a whimpering mess and she felt his lips form a smirk under her.

“Would you like me to stop, Dani? Is my teasing getting too much for you?”

Dani now let a growl of her own, and pulled his wings closer to her, which emitted the same sound from Caden.

He put his mouth back down at on her neck and Dani nearly buckled.

“I’ll take that as a no, mmm?” he responded.

“Caden, you’re going to destroy me.” She managed to gasp out.

“You haven’t asked yet.” He growled, almost sinister.

Dani could no longer bring herself to answer him in words, and only managed to let a whimper of surrender.

With Dani’s last whimper, Caden’s teeth nipped at her neck, dragging his teeth along the crevice of her neck.

“Caden, please…” she begged, clutching at his shirt.

“Please what, Dani?” he questioned, running the tip of his nose up the length of her neck.

“You know what.” She breathed out.

Caden chuckled darkly.

“I’m afraid that you’re going to have to be a bit more specific, Dani.” He replied into her hair.

“Destroy me.” Dani pleaded him, clinging onto his arms, digging her nails into them.

“Since you asked so nicely.” Caden responded, and turned her around so her back was again up against the wall. Dani finally was able to see his face again. Dani looked up into his eyes, there were a deep red, flames raging within his irises. His jaw was set and his eyes were clouded with the mark of a predator.

His hands weaved into Dani’s dark hair and tilted her face upwards towards her.

He let the eyes of the predator slip away for a moment as he whispered something to her that made her soul shatter into crystal pieces.

“I love you.” He breathed out, before he put his predatorial gaze back over and then claiming her for his own.

Dani’s felt nothing except the feeling of Caden’s mouth on hers, and she slipped her arms over his neck and clutched at him like a lifeline, for she was being carried away on a wave of lightning.

Her breath was desperate now and she fought to keep afloat under Caden’s attack, his intensity and the way his mouth moved against her had her fighting against the current.

They finally broke away and stared each other in the eyes for an indescribable moment.

“And I love you.” She said softly, then pulled him into her, laying her head on his chest.

They spent a while like this before Dani had managed to catch her breath and for that Dani was thankful. Caden had well and truly taken her breath away.

“So, that’s what happens when you tease me.” Caden said, breaking into a smile.

“Well, then I’m just going to have to tease you more often then, aren’t I?” she said coquettishly, dancing a few steps in front of him.

“You little minx.” He replied, quirking an eyebrow.

“What can I say, you bring it out.” She said smugly, then her expression softened and she took his hand.

“What do you think he meant when he said, “The Cloud tribe was right to be in awe of you? I know he’s wrong, but it just makes me wonder…” she said, trailing off and then glancing back at him, quietly seeking answers.

Caden looked at her with love once again, his eyes had faded back to blue and Dani’s own eyes had lightened.

“Dani, you possess a magic that no other creature on this planet has, even if you do not see it yourself. But only because your vision is blurred when it comes to looking at your own reflection. But they can see it, Dani, and so can I. From the moment I landed on Earth, your eyes were clear when they looked into mine and they penetrated into the very depths of my being, where no one else had access to. And I could see something in you that I had seen in no one else, in all the time I have existed.” He replied fervently, staring into her eyes with intensity.

The walked around to the front of the Cloud Kingdom and the other Cloud creatures were beginning to rise. Dani now noticed that there were houses in the clouds, made out a wispy substance that looked at little different to the Cloud Castle.

“What are their houses made of?” she questioned, then turning to wave at the eager Cloud people as they passed them on the way to the Castle.

“From what I know, it’s made out of Cloud Mist. It is a little less stronger than what the Cloud Castle is made of, pure Cloud stone, but they are protected by the Cloud Fortress.” Caden said.

“Cloud mist? Is that what the Cloud Stone has in it?” she asked.

“Cloud stone has many segments that is broken up into when it is mined.”

“Cloudstone is mined? What elements does it make?” she asked in surprise.

Caden put his hand to his head in thought.

“That they know of; Cloud Mist, Cloud Glass and Cloud Crystal.” He said finally.

“The purposes they use them for are really interesting as well. Cloud Mist can be used as a relaxant, to calm intense magic and to control emotions. Although they don’t use it for that too often, it can be done. Cloud Glass is probably my favourite.”

They continued on towards the door of the Castle and Dani saw that it was inlaid with pale, glimmering stones that she assumed were the Cloud Glass that Caden had referred to.

“What does the Cloud Glass do? Aside from decorative purposes, since I assume that was on the outside of the castle. “ Dani inquired, craning her head to look up at the turrets, which had more cloud glass inlayed into it, of varying colours, Dani assumed they simply used dye to manifest the different colours that she could see.

“Cloud Glass is the one of the most mysterious elements of the Cloud Stone. When you look into it, it has the ability to show a hidden talent of yours. However, the way it is shown in the glass is quite difficult to interpret. It can also reflect light, as your own usual glass can back on earth, but the kind of light it bends here is evidently a little different.” He chuckled and shook his head.

“I’m sure you’ve gotten used to that fact by now.” Caden looked at Dani with laughter in his eyes.

“I’m working on it. It’s not as hard as I expected it to be.” She replied, smiling and returning the laughter in her own eyes.

“So how or I should say, what light does Cloud Glass bend?”

“It bends starlight. It is absolutely stunning to behold, but we weren’t near to the castle last night, or we would most likely have seen it.

“But there’s more than just the beauty of the bent starlight, it bends and distorts it so it becomes something else entirely. Stardust.”

“There is nothing else in our world that can break apart the starlight and stardust is particularly valued, so that’s why the Cloud Glass is very prized.”

Dani and Caden were now standing in the middle of the Castle, waiting expectantly for the King and Queen. Dani took the time to fully examine the Castle as last night she had been so absorbed in the King’s story that she had completely ignored her surroundings.

There were mirrors everywhere.

The mirrors reflected thousands of them throughout the room and it seemed like they stretched on and on into eternity, for Dani could not see where they ended.

All of a sudden Dani noticed something in the mirror that was not in the room with them.

Two somethings actually.

And they were standing right next to her and Caden.

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